How can a musical theater production be absurd, ridiculous and repetitious and yet be so darned sweet that it surreptitiously sucks in the audience?
“Lizard Boy,” running through Oct. 31 at Mountain View’s Center for the Performing Arts courtesy of TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, is all that and much more, thanks to the multitalented three-member cast.
Musically, “Lizard Boy” is hard to pin down. Its indie, rock and folk songs feature inane, insane, wonderfully rhyming lyrics, played on everything from a ukulele, cello, guitar, kazoo, castanets and xylophone.
The show comes from the fertile, slightly daft mind of Justin Huertas: playwright, composer, lyricist and title character in “Lizard Boy,” which he plays complete with scaly skin. Much of the script come straight from Huertas’ life, including his shyness as a child, his coming out as a gay Filopino and his love of playing the cello.
Huertas and co-stars Kirsten “Kiki” deLohr Helland and William A. Williams work so companionably together that they’re like a tiny symphony orchestra, moving and swaying to director Brandon Ivie’s baton.
The quartet has been working together for a number of years, and Ivie has said that rehearsals are a cross between a garage band practice, a brainstorming session and a house party. The loose format can be confusing to audiences, as it’s not immediately clear whether they’re being spoofed or whether the story is as completely goofy as it seems. It is.
When Trevor (Huertas) was a child, an extraordinary playground incident associated with the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington in 1980 causes him to develop scale-like flareups on his skin. He becomes a lonely recluse, only willing to leave his little apartment one day a year: MonsterFest.
Trevor meets Cary (Wiiliams) through Grindr—a social network for the LGBTQ community—and they to go to a performance by Siren (Helland) at a local bar.
The rest is best witnessed because it’s nearly impossible to describe. And at 90-plus minutes without an intermission, there are moments that drag. Then something unexpected happens, and the audience is once again drawn into the show.
Robert J. Aguilar’s lighting design adds several dimensions to the stage, and Erik Andor’s costume design is singular (take a gander at the skin-tight spandex body suit worn by Helland). Jeff Mockus’ sound design is reliable and very necessary.
There’s one important production element that misses the mark: Huertas’ transformation from insecure Trevor to Lizard Boy deserves a proper superhero costume, not just a backdrop that indicates the change.
“Lizard Boy” runs through Oct. 31 at the Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. Tickets start at $30 at www.theatreworks.org or 650-463-1960.
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment
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